From Minneapolis to London, mass action led by black, Asian & immigrant youth defeats the racists & fascists.

Each weekend and most days since the police murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis, USA, we’ve had huge marches through central London and around the country. We risked coronavirus because we knew history wouldn’t wait. At times when the state goes too far and exposes its racism it creates a turning point. It is imperative that leaders emerge in action on the side of the oppressed to win. It means overcoming mis-leadership and fears of our own power in action. MFJ is an organisation building leaders in action, speaking the truth about racism. We know that to overthrow oppression, the oppressed must strike the blow.

On Saturday 6th June from Parliament Square we marched for miles – to the US embassy, to Home Office Headquarters, Parliament Square and Whitehall. It was an outpouring of anger by young people taking to the streets, to reckon with time-worn British racism. The speed of the escalation is testament to the line being drawn against all the ways we are being killed and sacrificed to the profit, political opportunism or convenience of a few – deaths at police hands; deaths in detention centres; being left to die from Covid-19; left in Grenfell Tower; left to drown in the Mediterranean sea; deported to countries we don’t know; losing everything to a bloodsucking immigration policy; Windrush generations humiliated; young people and immigrants scapegoated for the failures of a system that for ten years has bailed out banks not communities.

A reckoning has been a long time coming.

A struggle for power

A dynamic youth-lead anti-racist movement asserting its power in the streets is the most serious threat to the government’s racist policies and practices; racist Brexit, the hostile environment for immigrants, health, education and work inequalities and racist policing. It is also the strongest hope of the exploited and oppressed as we face a world in crisis desperate for revolutionary change.

That power – on the streets – has incensed racists and fascists across the country and led assorted far right groupings to call a counter demo against the BLM protest on 13th June, under the pretence of “protect the statues”. Their ‘defending statues’ was really about defending their racism against the awakening of a movement that could come to challenge the politics of nationalism and racism that gave them Brexit, and which most divides and weakens the working class as a whole. Their answer is to put black people back in ‘their place’.

Wherever the fascists march or demonstrate, their goals are simple: brutal racist intimidation; physical attacks on black people, Asian people, LGBT people and anti-fascists; recruiting more racists to their ranks. They want us weakened, afraid to act, and really afraid to fight back. Fascism has to be defeated; it cannot be negotiated. The past four years since the Brexit vote has seen racism and racist attacks increase, some of the largest fascist mobilisations including in London and Manchester since the 1970 ‘Keep Britain White’ marches. With the election of the most far right government since Thatcher, under Boris Johnson, and his rallying cry to racists everywhere of ‘Get Brexit Done,’ fascists have been emboldened. The timidity of Labour who turned a blind eye to Brexit racism allowed a weak Tory government to stay standing. It is no accident that bigoted racist and anti-Muslim attacks increased; Brexit gave licence to racists to act.

Overcoming the misleaders

The march BLM LDN called for Saturday 13th June would have outnumbered the fascists and easily driven away any right-wing racists trying to disrupt it. Turning back the fascists with their tails between their legs from the start would have cemented the power of the anti-racist movement. Instead BLM LDN announced they would ‘give’ the fascists Saturday, by moving to Friday instead. They lined up alongside everyone from the police, media, Akala and Boris Johnson, telling black people to clear out of the fascist’s way. That betrayal was a comfort to the far right, who may well have increased their attendance as a result. It is always a mistake to give ground to fascists to organise and grow; it leads to racist attacks on the day and in the aftermath. It treats black people as though we are weak, when it is precisely our strength that has brought about this critical point in history.

A distraction rally was held in Hyde Park, called by Stand up to Racism, which should have marched straight to Trafalgar Square, but the leaders of that rally also told people to go home after a few speeches. Thankfully hundreds ignored that advice and came to Trafalgar Square. London Black Revs and Malcom X Movement had called on protestors to go to Trafalgar Square from the start, and not back down to fascists.

The decision of the 200 or so, to stand ground in Trafalgar Square against all racist provocation and abuse, getting the word out as far and wide so others would come and join us, turned a near defeat into a major victory. The day ended with mass action lead by overwhelming black, working class young people, driving the fascists out streets by street, and taught them a hard lesson. It was a truly historic defeat for fascism.

An MFJ account of Saturday 13th June – Trafalgar Square to Waterloo

“It was known the racists and fascists came in largely through Victoria on coaches and trains to head to Parliament Square. They always start drinking early. Altercations with police began quickly, they attacked journalists and gradually fought through police lines to get to Trafalgar Square. These were the groups looking to attack any BLM / anti-fascists and do damage. They had glass bottles and fireworks as weapons.

“In Trafalgar Square the anti-racist demonstrators were overwhelmingly black, young and working-class, a lot of women. Everyone knew why we were there: we had to defend the growing movement by holding the ground to stop the fascists taking advantage of the day, and not clearing ourselves out of the way.

“We were only around 200, if that. There were police nominally separating the sides. The fascists (all men, some EDL, some violent groups connected through football) were gathered around the south west of the square shouting racists and misogynistic taunts, ‘go back to Africa,’ being provoking, and some in berets like ex-army gathered on Nelson’s Column. They carried on until they felt confident enough in their numbers to attack physically. At that point they moved like a flock around from the south end of the square, then up the east side to the higher ground along the top. They used the higher ground to lob glass bottles and fireworks into the crowd of black people, while making monkey noises and chanting. At the same time there were other racists milling around allied with the racist mobilisation.

Some police moved in, but a lot of the time the police stood back. The police caught up some fascists around Charing Cross, and later with police dogs stopped another breakaway group of fascists near Haymarket. There were fascists on side streets around Trafalgar Square.

Despite the mis-leaders who stayed away, everyone who stayed showed boldness greater than any of those fascists and racists. Our cause meant more – we are making history.

After an hour or so another big group of anti-racist protestors (some marched from Hyde Park, probably picking up others on the way) got to Trafalgar Square. Then our numbers were closer to a thousand, as it should have been. There were still confident fascists and racists verbally abusing black people around the square like it were a sport. They quickly found Trafalgar Square was no longer a space where you could be openly racist.  Emboldened and our numbers growing the racists and fascists got shut down.

We got moving down the side streets around the square. Fascists spotted in Leicester Square were chased out. Back in Trafalgar Square some of the earlier fascists who had been so confident and bold before were caught up with. Everyone who had aligned with the racist abuse found themselves questioned and confronted.

We marched down The Strand to Waterloo Bridge, widening the field where the fascists could no longer operate. Over the bridge at Waterloo station a group of fascists in the train station had presumably left behind a couple of their fascist friends. By now the numbers of anti-racists was still growing, still overwhelmingly black and working class. Some of the crowd managed to chase the fascists into the station.

Our side’s goal was clear, we wanted to defend our city, our people from the fascist threat and we wanted to ensure that any fascist or potential fascist thinks twice before returning to attack us. We ended up as thousands, and we took the streets back from them, from Waterloo to Trafalgar Square to Whitehall, to Vauxhall – we chased those fascists out, any who thought to challenge us, any who sought to spew their racism or attack us got taught a lesson in the power of working class black, white and Asian people fighting in unison to defend our communities”

A historic victory against fascism

It is impossible to overstate the enormous victory over fascism which took place on Saturday 13th June, for the first time ever a mass black led, working class mobilisation in central London managed to beat back the fascists, force them out of our city in tears. There have been victories like this in our local communities such as Tower Hamlets when the EDL were defeated by masses of Asian youth and anti-fascists determined to defend their community, but in central London the fascists have been able to hold increasingly large demonstrations freely – they see central London as their space. The victory was confirmed when the Democratic Football Lads Alliance put out a statement afterwards saying they would be withdrawing from future mobilisations to ‘defend statues’.

Fear of this expression of the power of a black-led struggle, and the great significance of our victory, has meant that much of the left, and the leaders who use the ‘BLM’ name, are refusing to tell the truth about what happened. Most people who were not there will just have seen the footage from earlier in the day when the fascists had the upper hand and the photo of a fascist being carried to safety. Neither of these things tells the true story of what happened, the scale of the physical, emotional, political defeat for fascism – something that only happened because thousands defied the call to ‘stay at home’.

Movement for Justice by any means necessary exists to mobilise that power, to make the power of exploited and oppressed communities a social force that will defeat the racism of the state, abolish its brutal system of oppression, and smash the fascists. That movement will give new hope to youth, to the poor and working class, and to everyone suffering discrimination and prejudice.

MFJ is a movement of leaders, most of us immigrants and asylum seekers who have fought to be in Britain and fought to stay here. We fight to abolish the anti-immigrant system that is central to racism in Britain: – to end the racist scapegoating of immigrants and the government’s ‘Hostile Environment’ policy; to shut down all detention centres and stop deportations and immigration raids; to win the right of ALL descendants & family members of the Windrush Generation to stay in the UK; and to extend the Settled Status for EU citizens in Britain to EVERYONE, from any country, who is living here without secure immigration status.

MFJ does not rely on politicians, judges or any institutions of the state. To secure our rights and futures we must build an independent, integrated mass movement, led by youth, immigrants and the black & Asian communities, and fight by any means necessary for civil rights,  immigrant rights, and equality for all.

Why MFJ will be joining the ‘No to Tommy Robinson, No to Brexit’ bloc on 9 December

The following statement was put out on the fifteenth Surround YarlsWood demonstration on 1 December 2018 (pictured above):

Defend & Extend Free Movement of People – Stop Brexit!

  • Shut down Yarl’s Wood – Shut down all detention centres
  • Stop scapegoating of immigrants – End the racist Hostile Environment
  • Amnesty Now for ALL those who don’t have secure immigration status
  • Open the Borders of Britain & Europe!   

Sunday 9 December, ‘No to Tommy Robinson, No to Fortress Britain’ Demonstration, 11am, Portland place

Stop the rise of Fascism & the Far-Right – Join MFJ on the ‘No to Tommy Robinson, No to Brexit’ Bloc

Build independent, integrated, youth & immigrant led mass movement against racism, fascism & poverty

Bring Down this Racist, anti-Working Class Brexit Government!

Across Europe and in the USA, immigrant workers, immigrant communities and refugees are on the frontline fighting for justice and equality, against racism, fascism and poverty. They are far more than scapegoats who get blamed for low pay, failing public services, insecure jobs etc; they are feared by the rulers as the most determined and conscious fighters.

In Britain the resistance by immigrants and asylum seekers inside detention centres is the driving force that has won a whole series of victories; detainees & ex-detainees in Movement for Justice (MFJ) are playing the leading role in this struggle. That’s why Yarl’s Wood, which has once more been a site of struggle against mass deportation in the past week, now stands half empty.

In the USA, the real leaders of resistance to Trump and his fascist allies are immigrants, Latina/o & black communities and youth, and the refugee caravan at the border with Mexico. MFJ’s American sister organisation, BAMN, has been in the frontline of these struggles for immigrant rights and shutting down the fascists. In Italy, the independent SI Cobas union, 80% immigrant workers, is the most militant section of the workers’ movement and the focus of militant political opposition, especially by youth, to the new racist Far Right government. They are demonstrating today against the reopening of a detention centre in Milan.

These powerful struggles are the basis from which we can build – internationally – an integrated mass movement to defeat the biggest growth of fascism & far-right racism since the 1930s.

We must defend and extend the free movement of people and stop Brexit

The rich and powerful regard free movement as their exclusive privilege – free movement for themselves, their money & investments, and the goods & service they buy and sell in a globalised economy with super- fast communications. They deny the same rights and benefits to the poor and oppressed, the people they exploit, impoverish and dispossess. That is divide and rule on an international scale: a global labour market for bosses looking for cheap labour, but not for people looking for work and safety. Mass migration is a rebellion against that injustice.

In an increasingly unequal world the free movement of people is the most basic human right – fundamental to workers’ rights, women’s rights, LGBT rights, the right of asylum and to life itself. The ruling classes deny us those rights, with their borders, detention centres, immigration laws, and by condemning thousands to death and starvation.

Movement for Justice demands Open the Borders of Britain & Europe, because it is what hundreds of thousands of people are doing, by any means necessary, in order to solve crushing material problems in their lives. The alternative to Open Borders is a world of barbarism and tyranny.

And the forces of barbarism and tyranny are growing here, across Europe, in America, and elsewhere   in the world: the Trump movement, the new government in Italy, the Orban government in Hungary, and their model, Putin’s de facto dictatorship in Russia. Brexit is its British form. Brexit is the biggest victory for racism and biggest attack on immigrants in Britain in the lifetime of anyone living today.

The far right racists are facing our resistance everywhere and they can be defeated. That will take a movement that’s independent of the powers-that-be – a movement with consciousness, a strategy and leadership.

Exposing the lies about Brexit

The Government and the Labour leadership say we must accept Brexit because it is democratic. That’s a lie: it’s not ‘democratic’ for a majority to take away the rights of a minority. The referendum was an exercise in lies and demagogy, not democracy. Millions of people who are part of this society were denied a vote by racist nationality and immigration laws.

Some people on the Left, including leading people in the Labour Party, say we should accept Brexit because a big part of the Leave vote expressed the anger of white people in impoverished communities who had every right to feel betrayed. That is true, but does not make it any less racist. One section of the working class was venting its anger in an attack on another section, based on race and national origin.

The same people say we should put Brexit behind us and unite on the ‘real’ practical issues that affect our lives, like housing, jobs and the NHS. They can’t or won’t see that free movement and fighting racism are real practical issues for millions of people. They can’t or won’t see that racism and immigration have a profound impact on housing, jobs and the NHS.

The fundamental belief of all such people is that you can’t shift the racism of poor and working class white people – and that is the biggest lie of all. But the basis for that belief is that racism is simply too big an issue, that it is too ingrained in the economic and political system, that overcoming it would shake things up too much. And that is true! It is too big a fight for their politics and their methods.

Racism can’t be overcome by reliance on the present system – Parliament, the courts, elections – any more than it will be overcome by moral sermons. It can only be overcome in and through the independent power of a mass movement, and it’s only on that basis that intervening in Parliament, the courts, elections etc will yield any positive results. We must not be afraid of the power of the poor and oppressed.

Building the movement – Defending free movement of people – Stopping Brexit

MFJ fights to stop Brexit in order to maintain the free movement of people and defeat anti-immigrant racism. That is central, all other considerations are secondary. Staying in the European Union while ending free movement would be a defeat; keeping free movement while being outside the EU would be a victory. The institutional and legal arrangements through which free movement is maintained are merely a matter of the mechanism that achieves our goal.

The method through which a movement can achieve these goals is the method that MFJ applies to every fight, big or small, that we are involved in: independent collective action to shift the balance of power in favour of the oppressed and exploited, and always speaking the plain truth about racism, as we have done about Brexit ever since the referendum campaign. It’s what we are doing at Yarl’s Wood today, organising inside and outside, together, to shift the balance of power against the Home Office and Serco. It takes resistance and exposure to make detention unsustainable; neither happen without organisation.

It is the same method we employed last year to drive a fascist recruiting march out of Croydon – campaigning and organising in the community, especially the black & Asian community, and among the youth, to take over the streets.

This is the method that can maintain and extend the free movement of people and stop Brexit and reverse the growth of fascism. Our aim must be to bring down this racist, anti-working class, brutal – but weak & divided – government. On 11th December Parliament votes on Theresa May’s Brexit deal, which will almost certainly be defeated; the Brexit crisis enters a new and more dangerous phase, and the fascists are preparing to take advantage of it to build their movement. The notorious racist thug and former EDL leader known as ‘Tommy Robinson’ has summoned his supporters to a ‘Great Brexit Betrayal’ march in London on Sunday 9th December.

Some members of the Labour Campaign for Free Movement and the left-wing anti-Brexit group ‘Another Europe Is Possible’ (AEIP) are with us at Yarl’s Wood today. MFJ welcomes the positive decision of AEIP to organise a No to Tommy Robinson! No to Brexit! bloc as part of the mobilisation against the fascists on 9th December. It is endorsed among others by David Lammy, MP for Tottenham, Manuel Cortez, leader of the TSSA union, Caroline Lucas MP of the Green Party and Peter Tatchell. They are rightly demanding ‘vote down the Brexit deal’ and ‘defend free movement,’ and point out that,

“… It is not enough to simply oppose racism in the abstract. Brexit is being used to attack migrants, end free movement, deregulate the economy, divide communities and legitimise racism in the political mainstream. It is driven at its core by the British wing of a movement that includes Donald Trump, Jair Bolsonaro, Marine Le Pen and Geert Wilders, among others…. Brexit has from its earliest days been driven by the far right, and the far right will benefit from it for decades to come unless we defeat it and the conditions on which it feeds.”

MFJ will be part of this bloc and we call on everyone here today to join us there. We will do everything we can to build the bloc.

Immigrants, black & Asian communities and youth must take the lead

This leaflet started, in its first four paragraphs, by explaining that these are the forces on the frontline of the fight for equality and justice internationally, and that are leading the fight against detention and the Hostile Environment policy in Britain.

With regard to Brexit, by far the biggest percentage of votes against this racist project came from black, Asian and Muslim voters, and from young voters – the most integrated generation, with their futures at stake. These are overwhelmingly working class communities and groups, and include some of the poorest sections of the working class. And they are a core part of Labour’s ‘traditional supporters.’ They knew from the start that Brexit is racist, and they have directly experienced its toxic impact. Recent polls indicate a further increase in opposition to Brexit among these groups.

The decision of the Labour leadership to endorse Brexit, to deny that it is racist, and to abandon free movement is a shameful insult to these communities and to the young generation. But, the most prominent anti-Brexit organisations have also been, at best, reluctant to fight on the issues of racism and free movement because they don’t want to undermine the Labour Party. As a result they isolated and undermined the very forces that most strongly rejected Brexit – while the Labour leadership continues to undermine itself anyway with its Brexit policy.

The ‘No Brexit’ bloc on the 9th December can be the start of changing that situation. Our organisers must focus on London’s multiracial schools & colleges, and the predominantly black, Asian and working class universities. We must call on David Lammy and other anti-Brexit MPs, especially black and Asian MPs and councillors, to call on their communities – on Tottenham, Lewisham, Hackney for example – to come out with us. We must call on Manuel Cortez and other anti-Brexit union activists to bring out the immigrant workers who are the most exploited and some of the most militant workers in London.

Time is short before 9th December, but we have a long fight after that because this is profound and long- running crisis in our history. We must step up our action now.

MFJ is building a movement of immigrant, black, Asian and young leaders because that is central to defeating the Far Right and overcoming the huge roadblock of racist, anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim discrimination and prejudice that is the chief barrier to progress in British society and internationally. That is the most important task before us, Only such a leadership can awaken and inspire a new movement of united mass struggle against exploitation and poverty.

We call on EVERYONE here today to join this fight.

Immigration Amnesty for ALL – Petition Launched!

Britain’s immigration system has been exposed as inhuman, deeply cynical and thoroughly racist. What all those who’ve had to fight through the system have known for decades is now exposed for the whole country to see. The Home Office is driven by racist removal targets and an anti-immigrant agenda. Every applicant is treated as a liar, no amount of evidence is good enough, decisions are arbitrary cut/paste jobs, outrageous profit is made out of peoples misery through fees, people are left unable to work for years while bad decisions are made, people are locked up like criminals and those seeking sanctuary are subject to further torture here in the UK.

For years, immigrants, asylum seekers, detainees, international students have been resisting the brutal and unjust immigration system by any means necessary. From fighting their way off planes, exposing the brutality in immigration detention, organising together to resist raids, deportations & charter flights or fighting through the courts, time and time again the government has been exposed and defeated.

Now the entire country has been shaken by the exposure of cruel injustice towards people of the ‘Windrush generation’, who arrived from the Caribbean in the ‘50s & ‘60s, fought the racist anti-immigrant hostility of the time, only to be told in retirement ‘you don’t belong here’.  The Home Office saw these mainly Caribbean elders as ‘low hanging fruit’ in their racist drive to reduce net migration targets and picked them off for deportation accordingly. This was a massive overreach on the part of the Home Office. It’s exposure means that Theresa May’s ‘Hostile Environment’ anti-immigrant policy is now vulnerable; they’ve already started rolling back on key aspects of the policy; we can win more, we can tear it down. Continue reading “Immigration Amnesty for ALL – Petition Launched!”

Yarl’s Wood detainees resist Nigeria/Ghana mass deportation charter flight – unlawful deportation prevented

Free AG NOW. Amnesty for ALL immigrants – and shut down ALL detention centres. Stop mass deportation charter flights. Build the independent, integrated movement.

In Yarl’s Wood detention centre new battles in the fight for women’s rights and immigrant rights have been opening up, with women taking all means necessary, encouraged and more confident having seen the government’s hostile environment immigration policy exposed and vulnerable, and having been part of the struggles that made it vulnerable through months of collective action inside Yarl’s Wood.

In Yarl’s Wood on Wednesday 30 May 2018, women gathered in Dove unit to defend Nigerian and Ghanaian women whom they knew to be the latest targets for a mass deportation charter flight. This action to stop deportations took place in the context of the Government’s wider, self-inflicted crisis over its anti-immigrant policies. It takes the fight to end detention and the whole hostile environment to a higher level and asserts the importance of immigrant leadership in this fight.

Continue reading “Yarl’s Wood detainees resist Nigeria/Ghana mass deportation charter flight – unlawful deportation prevented”

Government in Crisis over Racism – Bring It Down!

Windrush exposes truth of racism at heart of immigration law. Build the movement to reverse racist immigration laws. AMNESTY for ALL immigrants without papers.

Amnesty Now!

The Windrush generation who moved to Britain in the 1950’s and 60’s are regarded by almost everyone as an intrinsic part of British society. Their generation re-built Britain after the war, the health service, the railroads, drove the buses. Making their lives in Britain meant pushing back against the racist attacks and ‘Keep Britain White’ campaigns of the time. To be told after all these years, by the government’s Home Office, that they ‘don’t belong here’ was an overreach that has exposed the racism at the heart of immigration policy to millions of people. As a result Theresa May’s already struggling government has been left vulnerable on three fronts. Firstly the whole policy of attacking immigrants is vulnerable, in particular Theresa May’s defining policy of ‘hostile environment’. Secondly, Brexit is vulnerable. And thirdly, the crisis-ridden government is vulnerable, and it can be brought down. To stop the attacks on immigrants it is necessary to unite all of those under attack from this government.

Continue reading “Government in Crisis over Racism – Bring It Down!”